Saturday, September 20, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

EuroBasket 2013 results: Serbia earns World Cup bid with win over Italy

The crowning of the actual champion at EuroBasket 2013 will have to wait until tomorrow, but one of Saturday's games held some major weight for international competition. With the top seven teams from this tournament earning qualification to FIBA World Cup 2014, the seventh-place game between Serbia and Italy was a huge one for both nations.

With the conclusion of Saturday's action, seven teams have officially earned invitations to next year's inaugural World Cup in Spain. France and Lithuania will still play for the European title, but those two nations along with Spain, Serbia, Ukraine, Slovenia and Croatia are going to the World Cup.

Serbia 76, Italy 64: The Serbians jumped out to a 27-11 lead after one quarter and didn't let down afterwards. Italy started the second quarter on a 12-5 run, but ended up going into halftime down 14 points and never cut the lead below eight.

Nenad Krstic led Serbia with 17 points on 8-of-14 shooting in a balanced scoring effort. Four players scored 12 or more points, including 12 points, 10 rebounds and four assists from Nemanja Bjelica. As a team, Serbia shot 9-of-19 from three-point range and 50 percent overall.

Italy got 19 points on 6-of-11 shooting from new Pistons forward Luigi Datome, but the rest of the team shot a dismal 14-of-45 (31 percent) from the field. Marco Belinelli continued to struggle in his final tournament appearance, shooting 3-of-13 in the loss.

Slovenia 69, Ukraine 63: The fantastic play of point guard Goran Dragic continued for Slovenia in a six-point win over Ukraine. He finished with 19 points, seven rebounds and four assists in leading his country to a fifth-place finish at this year's tournament.

A nice 12-2 run by Ukraine to close out the first quarter put Slovenia behind early, but the team quickly responded from there, riding Dragic to a 24-7 run over the first nine minutes of the second period. Ukraine kept it close throughout the game, but never managed to take back the lead.

The Suns guard was the only scorer in double digits for Slovenia, but three other players scored nine points apiece, including former Nets forward Bostjan Nachbar. Pooh Jeter and Ihor Zaytsev led Ukraine with 12 points each.

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This article originally appeared on SBNation.

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